“Mobility Mats” have been added to Sand Key Beach as part of the larger effort to make beaches accessible to all

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A new “mobility mat” was unveiled today at Sand Key Beach near Clearwater, making it easier for people with disabilities to access the beach.

“When you’re the only one in the family who can’t go to the beach and you’re stuck on the sidewalk, it’s a horrible feeling. That’s why we want to make sure everyone knows that Florida welcomes people with disabilities. We want you on our beaches. We want you to be involved,” said Help Us Gather’s Ashley Morales.

Help Us Gather (HUG) is a Clearwater-based nonprofit dedicated to solving accessibility issues throughout Tampa Bay.

The mat was made possible with funding from the Michael & Robin Lally Forward Foundation. The cost is about $23,000. The group says ten mats are in place at numerous beaches in Pinellas and Pasco counties, with more to come.

“I had to watch the sunset from the parking lot,” said Melissa Caulsiled. “Now I can go out to the beach.”

The mats are made from 100% recycled materials. The newest is 372 feet long.

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